Monday, August 27, 2007

Kanavas gets it wrong and wronger

State Sen. Ted Kanavas (R-Brookfield) is either incredibly ignorant or is deliberately lying. Maybe he is just dyslexic and can't read budget documents.

Whatever his problem, the press release he issued Monday about the Zoo Interchange grossly misstates the facts about what Gov. Doyle proposed and what the Democrats in the Senate did with that proposal.

Untruth No. 1: "I was pleased to learn the Zoo Interchange reconstruction project was fully funded in the Governor’s 2007-2009 state budget....Senate Democrats cut funding..."
Doyle never, ever fully funded Zoo Interchage reconstruction in his budget proposal. He couldn't, because nobody knows how much it will cost, except that it will be a lot. The governor proposed $24 million for environmental and engineering studies related to future reconstruction of the Zoo Interchange. That money still is there. Neither the Democratic Senate nor the Republican Assembly removed it.

Untruth No. 2: Senate Democrats, Kanavas writes, also "restricted the ability to expand the Interchange" and "they want to specifically prohibit adding lanes to the Zoo Interchange, a move that renders the project useless (although still expensive). Not one Democrat is the State Senate, including Senators representing Waukesha and Milwaukee Counties, objected to this decision."

It could be that no one objected because there was, in fact, no move to prohibit expansion of the Zoo Interchange. (If there had been, I would have been the first to stand up and cheer.) What happened is this: the governor proposed that WisDOT be granted authority to go ahead and expand the Zoo Interchange if that's what the road-builders at WisDOT wanted to do. There was no money attached to the authority, though.

The governor was just a tad premature in his desire to give this go-ahead to the ever-poorly-managed and wasteful WisDOT -- after all, not a single study related to the Zoo project has been completed, there is no cost estimate for the work, and there is certainly no funding plan. The Dems simply indicated a desire to have further consideration of the project's scope, costs and impacts. Kanavas is really objecting fiscal discipline and responsibility. Looks like he is just another tax-and-spend Republican.

Kanavas really thinks rebuilding aging infrastructure is "useless" unless it is made bigger? Even after the Minnesota bridge collapse? He's probably the only one in America, besides George Bush, so hesitant to change his mind when presented with facts that contradict his opinion.

The Senate did add language to the budget that would prohibit expansion of a stretch of I-94 well east of the Zoo Interchage project area, on the portion of the freeway that abuts historic Wood National Cemetery.

When the proponent of a proposal has to prevaricate to sell the proposal, it's probably a good idea to take a long hard look at both the project and the proponent. In the end, it is very possible that neither has much to recommend it to the public.


Anonymous said...

Prevaricate? If a blogger has to bust out a thesaurus to support her point, then you should probably take it with a grain of salt.

The Governor fully funded the engineering portion of the project. That was the first step to actually modernizing the busiest Interchange in our state. The Senate Democrats aren't interested in expanding it, though, are they, since they put the poison pill in there that would require the Story Hill part of the project to become a bottleneck between the Zoo and the Marquette.

So, you will stand up and cheer when we waste millions of dollars rebuilding the same road that is currently limiting economic expansion in our area and causing headaches for hundreds of thousands of motorists each day? No one wants to see the cemetery disturbed, but not everyone is so concerned about hamstringing economic development in our region to make sure the people living in the neighborhood right next to an Interstate won't have to experience any inconvenience. It takes a lot of gall to buy a house next to the airport and then complain about the noise from the planes.

Gretchen Schuldt said...

Mr. or Ms. Anonymous,

If "prevaricate" is too hard for you, how about the earlier phrases, "deliberately lying" and "dyslexic"?

Oh, yeah, the governor did include the $24 million, but Kanavas said the entire project was fully funded, which it never was. Also, the Senate Dems didn't reduce the funding, which Kanavas said they did. He also said the Dems blocked expansion of the Interchange, which they didn't.

If a senator has to lie to support his point, you should probably totally discount both.